Cognitive Issues in the Perception of Desktop Virtual Environments

Robert D. Macredie and Sonali S. Morar

Department of Information Systems and Computing Brunel University, Uxbridge, Middlesex UB8 3PH, UK


Desktop virtual environments are computer generated representations of three-dimensional spaces, such as buildings, displayed on a normal desktop monitor. They are used to convey physical world representations in an interactive manner, which makes them idea for modeling and training applications. They accuracy of the representations is very important as they impact on the way in which users interact with the environment. This paper presents a review of the cognitive issues involved with one key area related to representation and subsequent interaction, the visual perception of the desktop virtual environments. The overall aim of the review is to formulate an agenda for research, which would contribute, through basic empirical investigations, to the further understanding of visually perceiving desktop virtual environments. The review concentrates on visual cues because it is essentially these visual cues that integrate to provide the illusion of depth and the third dimension. The review begins by highlighting the importance of the research through assessing the use of the desktop virtual environment tool in various commercial settings. It then progresses to consider the perceptual theories that underpin perceiving visual cues and theories relating to visual cue combination and conflict. The final aspect of the review attempts to emphasize the idea of individual differences of visual cue perception in the desktop virtual environment context. Individual differences consider cognitive and perceptual capabilities, which is a growing concern in the pursuit of conducive desktop virtual environment displays.

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